Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not Very Healthy, But Very Yummy

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes... they really do look (and taste) better than this picture
20-30 Cherry Tomatoes
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped green onions (chives work pretty well here, too)
3 Tbsp FRESH parmesean cheese, grated
2 Tbsp fresh, minced parsley
Cut a thin slice off each tomato top. Scoop out the insides and toss it (i use a melon baller for this step). Invert onto paper towels and allow to drain. In a medium bowl, stir together bacon, mayonnaise, green onions, parmesean, and parsley until combined. Spoon mixture into tomatoes and chill.
This recipe is from the Square Table Cookbook, a collection of recipes from Oxford, Mississippi. (my former office mate, laura, gave me the cookbook) There are a ton of great recipes. Here's a link to where you can get a copy:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meet Lincoln

My new cousin is here:

Lincoln Darwin Reel

Height:18 3/4 in.

Weight 7lbs 4 1/4 oz.
Time 3:35 pm

The baby and mommy are happy and healthy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Buy Local, Eat Fresh

Since the new year, I have been trying to come up with practical ways to get reasonably priced, local food into our home. Living in Hendersonville, we are about 20 miles north of Nashville, and while you would think that the local farmer's market could meet our needs, it does not. The Nashville Farmers Market is not a true farmers market and therefore does not have farmers selling their products. They have distributors. Not that this in itself is a terrible thing, it is just that I would like the opportunity to by direct in order to save money and to know exactly what I am buying. The Franklin Farmer's Market is several more miles away but is an actual "farmer's market". It is just not convenient to where I live. I found this website: Local Harvest through the USDA website. By searching here, i was able to find several farms in my area (i knew they were here, i just didn't have contact info). My mom and I went in together to get a CSA (community supported agriculture) share from Madison Creek Farms. We will split a weekly half bushel of their freshest organic fruits and veggies (and homemade butter and fresh eggs). I'm so excited! The food is harvested the same day you pick up and the farm itself is only 11 miles from my house. I have also found a source for grass fed organic beef in Springfield, TN. I will let you know how it is. It was a little pricey for what I usually pay for beef, but it may be worth it. I am working on finding a source for other meats, too. I have contacted a couple of farms and am waiting on responses. Now... I know some of you out there are thinking I am nuts for doing all this research for food, but there are great benefits to eating locally grown produce and meats:

  • First of all, it tastes better. Think of your homegrown veggies... It is a whole different league as far as taste.
  • It is better for you. Because the food is harvested very close to the time it is used, it is harvested at its peak and that means more nutrients (vitamins, minerals and those wonderful phytochemicals). Some organic foods can also claim better vitamin content. Local honey has also been shown to help prevent/reduce seasonal allergies. Grass fed beef has a better fat composition than the traditionally raised beef. This means that some of the fat found in grass fed beef can actually be good for you, think Omega-3 Fatty Acids (yep, the same ones found in salmon and tuna). I am not saying that you should eat beef every day, but it can be a great choice and a contributing part of a healthy diet a couple of times a week. Another thing is that committing to pick up fresh produce on a weekly basis can motivate you to eat better (more fruits and veggies and less junk).
  • Variety is the spice of life! CSAs, like the one I have chosen, force you to eat in season and to eat what is grown at the farm. This allows you exposure to foods that you may not have picked out at the local grocery store. Some CSAs also provide recipes and newsletters with their basket so you can learn how to prepare what you are given.
  • It is safer. Because it is local, you can ask the farmer exactly what his farming methods are. Buying local food creates a sense of direct responsibility.
  • Buying locally causes less impact on the environment. Because the food does not have to travel great distances while being kept at specific temperatures, less fuel is used and less packaging materials are used.
  • What really motivated me to do this is that I do not have the time (or the green thumb) required to get a large garden going this year. Especially after two failed attempts in the last two years. Although we did have a lot of tomatoes in 2006. The summer of 2007 had no shot due to the late freeze, the drought, and the excessively high temps later on in the summer. I felt terrible about that because after i had surgery last year, several people from church (Sean, Mandy, Ms. Sue, and Mr. Fuqua) planted a garden for me and I just let it die. Very sad... This will give me the opportunity to focus on some landscaping and a herb garden while still providing myself and David with fresh, delicious Tennessee produce.

I will keep you updated on how my first experience with a CSA goes! If any of you are interested in doing this, check out Local Harvest to find a farm in your area. I would contact them soon because CSA programs are often limited on the number of people that can sign up. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Baby Shower

Table View

(my sister made the cucumber sandwiches and stuffed cherry tomatoes-i will share these recipes at some point. These two foods seem to end up at any shower my sister and I help with. Everyone asks for them!)

Bird's Nest Coconut cupcakes... These were a sorry attempt at these cupcakes on Martha's website. I gave up on the beaks for the little blue birds after a few tries and decided to declare that the "birds" were in fact "eggs".

My Granny's Pecan Tarts

Granny's Lemon Curd Tarts. These were delicious. I have attempted the lemon curd before.. not a pretty picture. I may have to get her to teach me to make it sometime :)

Gorgeous Punch bowl

(I wish this picture was better)

embroidered table runner with handmade lace (made by my great-grandmother)

From the left: Mary (the lady of the hour), Lisa (my mom), Joyce, Rose, Jean (my granny), Anna (my sis), Beth, Mary, Linda, Myrtle, Maggie (me), Maggi

The little guy in the front is Maggi's and my cousin Ken's baby: Neil.

Party Favors: Altered Baby Food Jars filled with chocolates

I wanted to show you pictures of Mary's (my aunt) baby shower. We had such a good time. My mom helped me decorate and clean to get ready. We used embroidered table runners that my great grandmother had made all over the party area and napkins that my grandmother had cross-stiched. It was so fun to get out all of our pretty heirlooms and enjoy them. It made me want to have "tea parties" just for that reason. We even used cute snack plates (some milk glass, some clear that belonged to my granny) that have a place for your punch cup. I hope everyone else had as much fun as i did!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Day on the Town

I have lived in/near Nashville my whole life and have never owned a cowboy hat. I can't say that anymore:

A couple of weeks ago my cousin, melissa, came to visit and talked us into the hats. As you can see, Anna chickened out... Maybe next time she comes we will get the boots!!